A couple weeks ago, I had one of those hard conversations. You know the ones. Conversations that are long overdue, but the thought of actually bringing up the problem or the situation puts your stomach in knots. It’s almost easier to just sweep the problem under the rug than boldly confront the other person. 

Yeah, so one of those lovely conversations I got to meet head on a few weeks ago. It was built up yet unexpected. It was needed but painful. It was scary yet somehow easy. And if that sounds confusing, you’re on the right track.

Right after the confrontation, I walked straight up to my room. It was barely 30 seconds before my bracelet broke.

This was a bracelet I had bought and started wearing in Guatemala last summer. It only came off for special, formal occasions. It’s been on my left wrist through international mission work, saying goodbye to a beautiful country and team, coming back to school, starting new opportunities, and a million other things that have happened in the last 8 months. This bracelet had been through a lot, and it was definitely faded and worn out. But it was still strongly threaded together, until it suddenly and graciously broke and floated to the ground below.

I noticed it falling. I just stood there looking at my beloved bracelet on the ground. And in those few seconds, God whispered something into my heart.

IMG_2887I didn’t think too much about it then, but as the weeks have passed, and my mind keeps going back to that conversation and the original problem, I see what God wants me to see.

He’s breaking chains in my life. 

I’m sure most of us have heard the term “breaking chains.” We normally hear this phrase and think of super intense, sinful addictions. While God definitely can and does break the chains of alcoholism, sexual impurity, etc., sometimes a ‘chain’ can look a little less bad. But let me back up a little.

There are times in the Bible when God literally broke chains, such as when Paul and Silas were in jail in Acts 16. However, God also breaks the chains, or the hold, of sin on our lives. This is a spiritual/mental/emotional bondage compared to the physical bondage of actual chains.

 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. {Romans 8:17-18}

God breaks the chains, the hold, that sin has on our lives by covering us in His grace and transforming our hearts.

I’m starting to see that there’s a third form of chains that can have a hold on our lives. These chains are the ones you have to look out for because they come wrapped in a beautiful package. I think that sometimes we are bound by good things that either no longer have a place in our lives or that we are making into an idol. 

Sometimes good things aren’t good. Chains can look like anything from a hobby/project that you love (but that leaves you worn out and without time for quiet time) to a person that makes you laugh (but also creates negative feelings) to a well-paying job (that keeps you from doing what God is calling you to do).

Just because something is good does not mean it is what is in God’s plan for you. These chains are sneaky because they want us to avoid the small yet lingering feeling that something isn’t quite right.

Most of us know that we go through seasons in our lives. God is showing me that sometimes He puts good things and good people in our lives for only a season; something that was so perfect for you at one time is no longer what God has in store for your days to come.

God has designed such an intricately sovereign plan for us and our futures that it can be hard for us to see why some things happen the way they do. It’s times like this that I’m beyond thankful that our God is so trustworthy and faithful. 

So these chains are complicated to say the least. Like our favorite bracelets, we sometimes love to wear them. But I want to encourage you to seek your heart, your life, and your schedule to see if there are things that God is no longer calling you to. Join with me in a spirit of boldness and obedience as we allow God to break these chains and to trust His love in these circumstances that we don’t yet understand.